John McDermott, a Taylor Porter partner and tax practice group leader, has been appointed to chair the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council’s small business/self-employed and wage and investment subgroup.

The subgroup, one of three, focuses on small business and individual taxpayer issues. 

McDermott has served as a member of the IRS Advisory Council since January 2015. The council provides an organized public forum for IRS officials and representatives of the public to discuss key tax administration issues. Members are selected to represent the taxpaying public, tax professionals, small and large businesses, academia and the payroll community.

Tracy Marquette, a registered respiratory therapist who has been with Our Lady of the Lake for 30 years, has been appointed to a two-year term on the national Association of Asthma Educators' board of directors.

Marquette is a certified asthma educator and the coordinator for the Community Asthma Management Program, a collaborative effort of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, Health Centers in Schools, the Children’s Health project and physicians promoting better care for the asthmatic pediatric population. She also works with the Louisiana Healthy Homes Coalition and heads up a summer asthma camp provided by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and BREC.

Bryan Jones has been promoted to deputy office leader for HNTB’s Gulf coast district, based in the firm’s Baton Rouge office.

Jones most recently led the 11-state central division’s internal strategic planning initiative and also led government affairs outreach for the firm in Louisiana and Mississippi. He has a bachelor's degree in mass communication from LSU.

Visit Baton Rouge has named Stephanie Celestine as national sales manager for conventions; Timothy Carreker as information technology manager; and Zachary Ebarb as sales manager for sports and conventions.

Celestine joined Visit Baton Rouge in March and is a sales and marketing professional with more than 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Carreker joined the agency in March and has five years of experience in IT experience. Ebarb joined the agency in April and had experience with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and a property of the Hilton brand.

J.E. Cullens Jr., a founding partner at the law firm Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens LLC, has been elected chair of the 89.3 WRKF-FM board of directors.

He succeeds Rodney Braxton, of Southern Strategy Group.

Other 2016-17 officers are Jim Brandt, managing principal of Brandt & Associates, vice chair; Mary Kay Carleton, president of Carleton & Co. CPAs, treasurer; and Rodd Naquin, clerk of court for the Louisiana Court of Appeal, First Circuit, secretary.

Two new board members are Michael D. Adams, a partner in the law firm of DeCuir, Clark & Adams LLP, and Len Apcar, who holds the Wendell Gray Switzer Jr. endowed chair in media literacy at the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU.

The volunteer board governs WRKF as a nonprofit corporation and holds the station’s Federal Communications Commission broadcast license.

Ellie Jones, catering sales manager for Wampold Hospitality Collection, has been elected president of the Baton Rouge Events Association.

Stacy Simon, director of projects at Visit Baton Rouge, is immediate past president of the board. Bob Blanchard, owner of Premier Sound Services, joined the board as co-vice president of membership.

Returning board members are Renee Bourgeois, co-vice president of membership; Priscilla Simpson, vice president of development; Tony Arieux, vice president of philanthropy; Natalie Paul, vice president of marketing; and Jennifer Gomez, president-elect and vice president of programs.

Michael Nizzo has rejoined Business First Bank as president of its East Baton Rouge market. He succeeds David Lonibos, who will lead a new statewide public not-for-profit finance division for the bank.

Nizzo was a regional chief lending officer for Investar in Baton Rouge. He received a bachelor's degree from LSU.

McGlinchey Stafford has elected Kristi W. Richard as a member in the law firm's Baton Rouge office.

Richard advises business clients, including small businesses, lenders, insurance companies and producers regarding general business and corporate matters, insurance regulation and compliance issues and commercial lending. She also advises clients regarding Louisiana wills, trusts and estates. Richard also is an adjunct professor of sports law and business law at LSU.

Richard received her juris doctorate and doctor of civil law from LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center and a master in business administration and bachelor's degree from LSU.

The Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors has elected Ginger Maulden, of Coldwell Banker One, as president.

Other officers are Donna Villar, of Villar and Co., president-elect, and Matt Hughes, of Keller Williams Realty Premier, secretary-treasurer.

Newly elected directors are Laura Buck Smith, of Re/Max First; Chelsea Meng, of CJ Brown, Perkins; Jane St. Amant, of Pro Sold Realty; and Shelley Simmons, of Connect Real Estate Group LLC.

Returning to their second of two year terms as directors are Tigue Bonneval, of Audubon Real Estate Associates; Robyn Holifield Eunice, of Supreme LLC; Alissa Jenkins, of CJ Brown, Perkins; Larry Miller, of Keller Williams Realty Redstick Partners; Kyle Petersen, of Keller Williams Realty First Choice; Ashley Roberts, of Keller Williams Realty Premier; Missy Roberts, of CJ Brown, Perkins; and Past President Tiffany Palmer, of Pro Sold Realty.

First National Bankers Bankshares Inc. elected William G. Smith Jr. and Greg McKee to its board of directors and to the board of banking subsidiary First National Bankers Bank.

Smith is chairman and chief executive officer of Capital City Bank in Tallahassee, Florida. McKee is president and CEO of The Citizens Bank of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Mississippi. They succeed Odean Busby, of Priority Bank in Magee, Mississippi, and Rodney Mortimer, of the Bank of Kilmichael, in Kilmichael, Mississippi.


José S. Suquet, chairman, president and CEO of Pan-American Life Insurance Group, has been appointed to Regions Financial Corp.’s board of directors.

He will serve on the board's risk committee and the compensation committee. With the addition of Suquet, Regions’ 14-member board consists of 13 independent outside directors.

Latter & Blum Inc. has appointed Paul Dunkle as director of corporate services responsible for its relocation and referral businesses for agents in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Dunkle was relocation director for Coldwell Banker’s regional brokerages in the Carolinas.

Search Influence, an internet marketing company, has promoted Paula Keller French to director of sales and marketing. She will help create digital marketing strategies for businesses to find more customers online.

Keller French was director of account management. She received a marketing degree from LSU.

Spears Group has promoted Ronald Evangelista to vice president of operations and named Michelle Tarallo as director of special events, a newly-formed division in the company.

Evangelista has served as director of operations, managing all internal operations for the company and also previously managed the operations and logistics for all of Spears Group's signature events.

Tarallo was manager of business development at Dinner Lab and has experience with SMG at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Houston native earned a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in business from Tulane University.

Robert Thibeaux, a member of the Council of the Louisiana State Law Institute, has been appointed to the institute's executive committee and also serves as reporter for the institute committee tasked with revising the Louisiana law of movable property leases.

He is chief examiner of Code III of the Louisiana Bar Exam, which covers the law of sales, lease, contracts, general obligations, mortgage, suretyship and security devices.

Gifted Healthcare, a national nurse-owned health care staffing company, has named Kay Cowling to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer.

Cowling was chief executive officer of Fastaff and US Nursing. She has been a strategic adviser to numerous digital health care startups, and has consulted with Gifted Healthcare since late 2015.

Cocktails at Grand Isle has named Drew Clowney as beverage director.

The native of Oxford, Mississippi, was with Yalobusha Brewing, moving to New Orleans in 2012 to launch distribution for the craft beer maker.

Dr. Gustavo M. Coutin has been elected 2017 president of the New Orleans Dental Association.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has reappointed Laura S. Bonanno, the nurse anesthesia program director and associate professor of clinical nursing at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing, to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. Her term as president of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing also began on Jan. 1.